Right now at the Clarion Workshop, ambitious and excited participants have begun writing. Fifteen years ago, I was one of the participants.
During week three, the instructor, Gregory Frost, assigned an exercise involving a wall. As I recall, it went something like this:
"Imagine that a wall that appears overnight between two groups about to go to war. They can see through it, they can communicate through it, but they can't pass through it and attack each other. Begin that story."
We only had to write the opening paragraphs, but some of us were inspired to continue. Mike VanWie wrote a bittersweet love story that we would now call steampunk, but back then we just called imaginative. Dan Jeffers wrote a comic sword and sorcery novel with sex scenes in the appendices, which he hadn't had time to write yet.
I eventually wrote a science fiction story in which the wall was a human colony on a distant planet. That story was published, and later I expanded it into a novel, Transplants. I'm doing the final edits on that novel as my Clarion Write-a-Thon goal. It will be published in 2012 by EDGE.
— Sue Burke